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By Staci Caplan
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®
As I write this, I am aware that by the time it is published things will likely have changed, again and again, as they have daily for the past week. In the real estate community, major changes have occurred which have had a huge impact on how REALTORS® may conduct business and best serve their clients, while adhering to the safest standards.
Governor Newsom and the State Public Health Officer issued Executive Order N-33-20 requiring all Californians to stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of operations in 16 infrastructure sectors. This supersedes all existing local city and county orders that are less restrictive. The real estate industry is not exempt from this prohibition except as needed to maintain “continuity of operation … of … construction, including housing construction.”
Fannie Mae has issued temporary guidance on appraisal requirements, including allowing desktop and exterior-only appraisals on many mortgage transactions for eligible mortgages through May 17, 2020.
Can REALTORS® show property, or hold open houses? The answer is a resounding No. REALTORS® should cease doing all face-to-face marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections. Should buyers be out looking at houses? No. Clients and other consumers are also subject to these orders and should not be visiting properties or conducting other business in person. We are ALL ordered to shelter in place for the greater good.
REALTORS® across the country have been wrestling with their own personal dilemma as they are striving to continue to be of service to their clients. The spirit of the Code of Ethics, to which all REALTORS® have sworn to uphold and by which we abide, offers clear guidance during these times:
REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment. Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which REALTORS®should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves….”
Thank you to REALTORS®who are modeling safe business practices during this challenging time. There are still sellers who need to sell, and lots of pent-up buyer demand.REALTORS®can serve their clients digitally, through floor plans, digital marketing such as virtual tours and video, and digital signing platforms. Additionally, many other aspects of the real estate industry can continue to occur without in-person contact, including documentation and closings. Other activities may also be managed remotely. Call your local REALTOR® to find out how to buy or sell property virtually.
Many people will be affected in the coming days. We are all in this together with the one unifying goal of minimizing the effects of this virus. We as REALTORS® choose to do what is best for the nation and our communities. Let’s do everything possible to insure the “preservation of a healthful environment” – because that’s who we R.
Call your Realtor today with any questions or concerns, or contact the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors at sbaor.org.
Staci Caplan is a California Real Estate Broker and the owner of Pacific Crest Realty. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara and her passion for this special region translates into successful real estate transactions and thrilled clients. At our local Santa Barbara Associations of REALTORS ® , Staci has served on the Board of Directors, the Government Relations Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, the Multiple Listing Committee, and the REALTOR ® Action Fund Committee. She can be reached at (805) 886-3970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.